Amazon has been transitioning from a primarily sales-based platform to more of a hybrid sales/awareness channel for some time now and the ongoing rollouts of new visibility features make it easier for brands to stand out from the competition.
And recently, Amazon took the biggest leap yet towards blending sales and awareness by expanding its Sponsored Brands Video feature to more countries, including the UK. Now, for the first time, UK sellers can launch video campaigns on a cost-per-click basis.
What is Sponsored Brands Video?
Available on both desktop and mobile, Sponsored Brands Video is a new self-service tool that enables sellers to embed video content directly into the Amazon search results. Previously available only to US sellers, the keyword-targeted tool has now been rolled out across the UK, blending classic textual results with more interactive content.
Video content remains static until the result occupies at least 50% of the results page and this is when play is initiated automatically. Product details that are typically found within textual results – such as star rating, review quantity, price, and prime availability – feature as normal in a results box which appears alongside the video. By clicking the box, users are sent directly to the product landing page, significantly helping to boost conversion rates.
Sponsored Brands Video is making a big splash and it’s easy to see why. The launch of the feature marks the first time that Amazon sellers can generate video campaigns without committing to big ad spends. Previously, the only way to engage through video at Amazon SERPs level was through Amazon Video Ads, available to those with managed advertising accounts. Sponsored Brands Video offers an opportunity to attract, engage and communicate through video on a CPC basis without a minimum ad spend.
Currently, Amazon allows sellers to embed video between 6 seconds and 45 seconds long into the relevant results pages. All videos are subject to the standard creative acceptance policies for Sponsored Brands campaigns and there are a few additional rules and regulations – including technical specifications – that are worth checking out.
The Growing Importance of Video
Today, 92% of marketers say that video holds a critical role within their strategy. That’s up from 78% in 2015. And the reason is that buyers are placing more importance on video as an influencer. 90% of shoppers say that video content helps them to make a purchasing decision with videos offering greater insight into product use and function.
This is especially true in categories that include items which struggle to communicate functionality through appearance alone. Kitchen gadgets are a prime example with the appearance of the device having little to do with the results that it produces.
However, despite the growing importance of video for both buyers and sellers, it has previously been challenging for Amazon sellers to fully utilise video functionality on the platform. Especially for smaller sellers who were not signed up for a managed service. The new Sponsored Brands video feature is the first self-service tool that can be accessed by any brand registered seller, and can be launched as a CPC campaign.
While Sponsored Brands Video is easily accessible through the Sponsored Brands dashboard, there are some best practices that sellers should be aware of in order to both increase the chance of having their video accepted and of the video achieving what it sets out to. Here are four best practice tips that are worth keeping in mind:
- Create a Silent Video – If you were to look at a Sponsored Brands Video in the Amazon search results, you’ll notice that there’s a mute toggle button in the bottom right hand corner of the video itself. This allows users to mute and unmute the content as desired. However, every video automatically plays without sound unless the user manually clicks the button. This means that, in many cases, users will be watching without sound. Don’t waste your time and resources developing a script; ultimately, visuals will be more impactful than sound.
- Use Subtitles or Captions – An alternative to creating a silent video is to add subtitles or captions to the screen that allow you to communicate a spoken message with your audience through textual cues. However, one vital factor to remember here is that Sponsored Brands Video works on both desktop and mobile, so any text that’s used must be easy to read on a smaller tablet or smartphone screen. Amazon advises sellers to use an easy-read font such as Helvetica at 80 px minimum to ensure that any text is easily visible across devices.
- Focus on the Product – Amazon’s own research shows that videos which focus heavily on the product in question perform better than those that don’t. And further analysis by the platform suggests that making the product the prime focus within the first second of the video can help to further enhance engagement and user interest. Amazon recommends making the product the very first visual that’s seen during the video and advises against using tactics such as starting with an empty frame or fading in from black.
- Think About Timing – Although Amazon allows sellers to create Sponsored Brands Videos that are between 6 and 45 seconds in length, Amazon states that the highest performing videos on the platform are those that last between 15 and 30 seconds. For this reason, Amazon advises sellers to limit content to just a small selection of key selling points that effectively summarise the message that you want to deliver. Timing is everything when it comes to Sponsored Brands Video, so keeping things focused and brief is crucial.
How to Make Sponsored Brands Video Work For You
Understanding best practices for creating your Sponsored Brands Video is one thing, but actually knowing how to use these videos within your advertising strategy is another! Here are just a few of the ways that you can use SBVs to enhance your efforts:
Place a Spotlight on Low Converting Products
Every seller will have a mix of high converters and low-mid converters in their inventory. It’s natural to want to promote your bestsellers to drive more sales and boost profits, but one of the best ways to use Sponsored Brands Video is to shine a light on some of your lower converting items.
Why? Because it’s important to consider why these items are low converters.
Is it simply that not many buyers are interested? Or is it possible that static imagery isn’t portraying the product in the best light, or isn’t providing shoppers with the necessary information to help them make a decision?
In these cases, using Sponsored Brands Video can be a great way to add more dimension to your products.
Boost Your Storytelling Efforts
By now, every advertiser knows the importance of storytelling. Or at least they should!
Storytelling is a way of sparking emotional reactions from audiences, rather than just logical reactions, helping to resonate with potential customers on a deeper level and making it easier for them to justify their decisions.
Sponsored Brands Video facilitates a storytelling approach, allowing sellers to take their audience on a journey from start to finish that tells a relevant and persuading tale. According to the HubSpot State of Marketing Report 2020, brand storytelling videos are amongst the most common types of video produced by advertisers today due to their exceptional levels of performance.
Improve Awareness & Brand Recall
While Amazon advises sellers to focus on the product itself, Sponsored Brands Video still provides an opportunity to raise awareness and facilitate better brand recall amongst shoppers.
How? By adding captions to the video that follow the same branding guidelines as the business. Captions or subtitles can be stylised with the same font as the brand and displayed in brand colours to create consistency in your messaging to form a close connection between your business and your video communications.
By doing this, sellers can derive great value from the new Sponsored Brands Video feature, even in cases where conversions failed to occur, through initiating relationship building.
Stand Out From the Crowd
Sponsored Brands Video can be considered to be a bottom-of-the-funnel tactic. With videos embedded directly in the Amazon search engine results pages, the content is displayed only to those who have searched for a specific and relevant phrase; they already know what they are looking for, and they’re largely in a position to compare and buy.
At this stage of the funnel, one of the most important things that sellers need to do is stand out and video content amongst a page of static imagery is a fantastic way to do this. Video can also help to highlight some unique selling points and features of the product that differentiate it from similar items to help drive more conversions.
Of course, the most obvious way that sellers can make Sponsored Brands Video work for them is to use video content to boost sales. And really, this is exactly what Sponsored Brands Video was made for.
Unlike other campaign types that allow sellers to choose where to direct traffic for best effect – Storefronts to boost awareness, or a category page to promote product ranges, for example – Sponsored Brands Video only permits links to the specific product page for the featured item. It’s limiting, sure, but it can be used to your advantage.
A good best practice here is to choose the best selling variant of a product (colour, size etc.) and use this as the video feature to attract more leads.
Amazon… More Than Just Sales
Boosting sales is important. But Amazon is about much more than that. As is clear to see from the numerous different ways that Sponsored Brands Video can bring benefits to sellers, sales are just one part of the equation. Amazon is continually launching new features and functionalities that enable sellers to do more – to boost awareness, to stand out from the crowd, and to tell stories – all of which help to build better brands.